video games

Pikachu ready for battle with his own set of samurai armor

Pikachu ready for battle with his own set of samurai armor

Even though it’s been a week since we made the trip to downtown Yokohama to see the packs of roaming Pikachus, and we’ve still got a warm fuzzy feeling. Actually, warm and fuzzy is also an apt description of the lovable pocket monsters’ plush yellow coats, which brings up a concern.

Cuddly softness is all fine and good when Pikachu is handing out hugs, but what about when he goes back to his regular duties of fighting other Pokémon? Shouldn’t he be wrapped in something a bit more durable, like his own custom set of samurai armor?

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PlayStation 3 gets a price cut in Japan, still costs more than it probably ought to

PlayStation 3 gets a price cut in Japan, still costs more than it probably ought to

Sony Japan has announced that its ultra-slim, “charcoal black” PlayStation 3 console will become that little bit cheaper at the end of this month, following the arrival of a new SKU.

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Hideo Kojima’s Silent Hills might just be the horror game we’ve been waiting for【Videos】

Hideo Kojima’s Silent Hills might just be the horror game we’ve been waiting for【Videos】

Those who owned an original grey PlayStation back in the day will no doubt be familiar with Silent Hill, the survival horror series that went on to spawn a host of sequels as well as a questionable feature film of the same name. The series has had its ups and downs over the years, and many feel that it has lost much of what made it so great to begin with, but it looks like the newest instalment is set to bring back what gamers loved about the originals: the kind of tense, tortuous, genuinely horrible horror that makes you consider keeping the lights on at bedtime.

Don’t believe us? Check out these reaction videos from makers Konami.

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Sailor-suited fan’s crazy anime dance gives us a double dose of cuteness and energy 【Video】

Sailor-suited fan’s crazy anime dance gives us a double dose of cuteness and energy 【Video】

Right now there’s no hotter anime or video game franchise among kids than Yo-kai Watch. While we’re sure the high standards of quality at creator Level-5 are a huge factor in its success, at least some fans of the ostensibly for-kids series have said that part of the appeal is that grown-ups haven’t started horning in on tykes’ turf in the same way they have with other popular franchises.

The borders to their children’s paradise might be fading, though, as this video, showing a young lady dancing her heart out to the Yo-Kai Watch ending theme, proves that teens aren’t even remotely too old to get some enjoyment out of the show.

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“Jibanyan, I choose you!” Does Yo-kai Watch have the power to topple Pokémon?

“Jibanyan, I choose you!” Does Yo-kai Watch have the power to topple Pokémon?

Pokémon is a long-running global megalith: a multi-platform media franchise like no other. Millions of kids grew up watching the anime, wearing the T-shirt, and of course playing the games. Here in Japan, Pokémon characters are everywhere – and none more so than Pikachu. Go to the mall and there’s a giant fluffy Pikachu to meet and cuddle. At school lunch, chances are a bunch of kids’ mums have made their onigiri into Pikachu’s face for them. And a whole city was recently invaded by scores of our favourite yellow friend for an entire Pikachu festival.

There’s a new kid on the “collect-all-the-monsters” block, though, and it looks to be pushing Pokémon by the wayside. Yo-kai Watch hasn’t been released internationally yet, but in Japan the 3DS game, anime and its characters have quickly gained a ubiquitous popularity that looks like it could even overtake Pokémon. Have Pikachu and friends really had their day? Or is Yo-kai Watch merely a flash in the pan?

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Pics of Pikachu packs from a day of Pokémon hunting in Yokohama【Video】

Pics of Pikachu packs from a day of Pokémon hunting in Yokohama【Video】

A few weeks ago, the handlers of the Pokémon franchise announced the Pikachu Tairyou Hassei Chu, or “An Outbreak of Pikachus” event. First they brightened our day with a TV ad showing the adorable Pocket Monsters hanging out in a shopping mall. Then they teased us with a photo of the electrified rodents landing on the dock.

And now, they’re here!

We grabbed our cameras and went Pikachu hunting in Yokohama, and we were not disappointed. We were, though, almost completely paralyzed by the awesome overdose of cuteness that comes from a parade of a pack of 20 Pikachus.

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What’s this little green dinosaur’s name? If you said “Yoshi” we’ve got news for you…

What’s this little green dinosaur’s name? If you said “Yoshi” we’ve got news for you…

Nicknames can be confusing things, especially when they’re the only name by which you’ve ever known someone. I can clearly remember the moment when my friend’s Japanese wife looked at me with a mixture of surprise and betrayal, for example, when she found out that Phil (or “Firu” as it’s awkwardly pronounced in Japanese) is in fact short for Philip.

But after learning that the same green dinosaur that I’ve traversed hundreds of levels, raced go-karts and carried baby Mario back to his parents with since I was about 10 years old isn’t actually called Yoshi, I can kind of understand why she was so shocked.

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Sony’s summer PlayStation Vita ads are all about growing up【Video】

Sony’s summer PlayStation Vita ads are all about growing up【Video】

We’re already well into the school summer holidays here in Japan, and Sony is taking the opportunity to entice younger gamers over to its decidedly more grown-up portable console, the PlayStation Vita. Join us after the jump for a closer look at these cheeky ads from Sony’s summer campaign.

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Investors watching Yo-Kai Watch as hit game/anime series leads stock rally in Japan

Investors watching Yo-Kai Watch as hit game/anime series leads stock rally in Japan

As Japan continues its long in-vain search for a way to recapture the glory years of the Bubble Economy of the 1980s, politicians and pundits have proposed a plethora of projects. But amid all the talk of privatizing the postal system, making the expressways free, and devaluing the yen, there’s one outside the box solution no one happened on until now: unleash supernatural entities into the stock market.

Maybe it’s something they should have tried earlier, considering how the supernatural characters of hit multimedia franchise Yo-Kai Watch are leading a mini stock rally all by themselves.

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The awesome costumed fans of Nagoya’s World Cosplay Summit 【Photos】

The awesome costumed fans of Nagoya’s World Cosplay Summit 【Photos】

With schools in both Japan and abroad on summer vacation, we’re right in the prime seasons for pop culture events like San Diego Comic-Con and Chiba Prefecture’s Wonder Festival. We recently attended both, snapping pictures of all the cool cosplay costumes, but the hobby’s most prestigious gathering was yet to come.

Last weekend the 2014 World Cosplay Summit was held in the city of Nagoya. Our own cosplay efforts aren’t quite competition-level, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t enjoy all the awesome costumes that were, so we grabbed our camera and hopped on the Shinkansen.

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Dead or Alive 5 achieves new level of creepiness with “Bath and Bedtime” costumes

Dead or Alive 5 achieves new level of creepiness with “Bath and Bedtime” costumes

It should come as no surprise to learn that the fighting game series that spawned a bikini-packed beach volleyball spin-off and whose developers included the option to change how much female fighters’ breasts jiggle likes to get sexy. Dead or Alive has always been about scantily clad females, enormous boobs and gratuitous close-ups and poses; it’s not especially tasteful, but to each their own.

But the latest round of downloadable costumes for Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, called the “Bath and Bedtime” series, seems to be confusing “sexy” with “creepy”, as it pits female martial artists against each other while wearing naught but their jammies and bath towels.

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Not as easy as it looks! The making of viral video “Mario Jumps into Battle”

Not as easy as it looks! The making of viral video “Mario Jumps into Battle”

Just under a week ago, a fan-made video featuring Nintendo’s Super Mario appeared online. Titled “Smash Bros. Mario Jumps Into Battle”, it showed the portly plumber doing a bit of shopping in a real-life Tokyo store before realising that he was late for his appointment in Nintendo’s upcoming brawler, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, and dashing across the capital city.

Due to its incredible animation and clever blending of real and computer-generated images, the video was quickly picked up by a number of gaming news sites (and shared on our own Facebook page) and scored thousands of hits in the blink of an eye. But even short videos like this don’t just pop out of question-mark blocks; they take weeks of hard work…

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Dozens of Pikachus make landfall in Yokohama, begin expanding their territory throughout the city

Dozens of Pikachus make landfall in Yokohama, begin expanding their territory throughout the city

It’s been about a week since we first saw the commercial for the Pikachu Tairyou Hassei Chu (“An Outbreak of Pikachus”) Pokémon event going on this month in Yokohama. And while fans are no doubt looking forward to the projection mapping show and Pikachu Café, the real draw is the promised 1,000 Pikachu that will be on hand to greet visitors to the city’s Minato Mirai bayside district.

While we’re still a few days away from the official start of the festivities, the loveable pocket monsters have already started showing up, as shown in these surreally cute photos of the assembled Pokémon hospitality corps.

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Attack on Titan and Evangelion coming to Universal Studios Japan

Attack on Titan and Evangelion coming to Universal Studios Japan

Running Universal Studios Japan has to be a pretty tough job, since it’s never quite been able to step out from the shadow of Japan’s theme park juggernauts, Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea. You have to figure part of that stems from Universal’s weaker portfolio of beloved characters and settings. Whereas a trip to the Disney parks means a chance to rub elbows with the cast of Aladdin, Toy Story, and The Little Mermaid, visitors to USJ have had to settle for Jaws, Water World, and Backdraft.

But Universal Studios Japan has a new plan that involves not minding the first two-thirds of its name, but that last word, as the park is planning to add new attractions based on Attack on Titan, Evangelion, and other hit franchises from Japan.

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Cute Cardcaptors, titanic females, and the other cool anime figures of Wonder Festival【Photos】

Cute Cardcaptors, titanic females, and the other cool anime figures of Wonder Festival【Photos】

While we spent plenty of time at this week’s summer Wonder Festival snapping pictures of the awesome cosplayers, they’re really not what the event is about. Wonder Festival is actually Japan’s biggest modeling convention, with hundreds of displays of the latest figurines and garage kits.

We sent our Japanese-language reporter Meg out to the Makuhari Messe convention center, and she brought back a batch of photos sure to have anime fans clearing off space on their desk for one more figure.

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From Sailor Moon to Freddy Krueger – The lovely cosplayers of Wonder Festival

From Sailor Moon to Freddy Krueger – The lovely cosplayers of Wonder Festival

We recently made the trip across the Pacific to Comic-Con in San Diego, where we checked out the newest titles from the exhibitors and the costumes made by their fans. Our traveling reporter Yoshio even decided to join in and dress up too.

San Diego wasn’t the only place to see some cool cosplay last weekend, though. Back here in Japan, the summer Wonder Festival, the world’s largest model and figure exhibition, was going on, so we headed over to the Makuhari Messe convention center to photograph the amazing costumes.

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How to make your own Pikachu Burgers!【RocketKitchen】

How to make your own Pikachu Burgers!【RocketKitchen】

We recently paid a visit to the Pikachu Café in Roppongi, where we dined on, among other dishes, a hamburger shaped like the electrically charged Pokémon mascot. But while we found ourselves craving seconds, we weren’t sure we felt like waiting in the restaurant’s long line again.

So instead, we decided to make our own Pikachu Burger by reverse engineering and remixing what we ate in Roppongi, and today we’re sharing our recipe with you. So join us after the break for this easy recipe and a step-by-step guide to building your own pika-tastic burgers!

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Pikachus overrunning Yokohama in the cutest rodent invasion ever 【Video】

Pikachus overrunning Yokohama in the cutest rodent invasion ever 【Video】

Every summer, there are certain pests you can expect the country to become briefly inundated with. First come the mosquitos that lay their eggs in the puddles of water that form during the rainy season. Next up, the whining cicadas that serve as an aural reminder of midsummer, whether you want one or not. And last, the jellyfish, buzzkills of the animal kingdom who show up at the beach and deliver their joyless message of “Everyone out of the water!” by stinging swimmers.

But this year, there’s finally some good news, as the city of Yokohama is about to be overrun by Pikachus!

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We apply to appear in new Yakuza game, still waiting to hear back from Sega

We apply to appear in new Yakuza game, still waiting to hear back from Sega

Since it first began on the PlayStation 2 in 2005, the violent action-adventure series Yakuza (Ryu ga Gotoku in Japan) has sold 6.5 million copies around the world. With a new edition of the series in the works, Sega is holding auditions for men who would like to appear in it.

Thinking this would be a great way to promote our humble website, we assembled a team of our manliest men to try out. It’s undoubtedly going to be tough, but to help increase our chances we sent each reporter to audition for a different character.

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Game dev berates gaming media on its “junior high school” analysis of PS4’s performance in Japan

Game dev berates gaming media on its “junior high school” analysis of PS4’s performance in Japan

In the battle to determine the supreme video game console of the eighth generation, Sony’s PlayStation 4 has been doing incredibly well so far – or at least it has outside of Japan, anyway. The console was released in the West in November of last year and quickly became the fastest-selling console ever at its launch in the UK. In contrast, since its February release in Japan, the PlayStation 4’s sales numbers have been decidedly underwhelming.

Any number of articles on the web can seek to explain the reasons behind the PS4’s popularity overseas and Japanese consumers’ apparent indifference, but it seems like one game developer CEO is fed up with nonsense articles full of fluff and no depth. In fact, according to him, even junior high school students could have written most of the stuff that has appeared on some gaming sites! He, at least, is hoping for a more substantial analysis of the situation. More details to come after the jump.

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