video games

Xbox One finally gets a release date in Japan – We hope you’re not in a hurry

Xbox One finally gets a release date in Japan – We hope you’re not in a hurry

That’s right ladies and gents, despite its predecessor’s somewhat dismal performance in the Land of the Rising Sun, Microsoft’s games console-cum-media hub Xbox One is coming to Japanese shores after all. But it won’t be for a while yet…

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Newsflash: Sony unveils “Project Morpheus”, new virtual reality headset for PlayStation 4

Newsflash: Sony unveils “Project Morpheus”, new virtual reality headset for PlayStation 4

Sony Computer Entertainment has just lifted the lid on brand new hardware at GDC 2014 in San Francisco: its own virtual reality headset for PlayStation 4, codenamed Project Morpheus.

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Attempt at cute Pokémon cakes fail to win our hearts, may have taken our souls

Attempt at cute Pokémon cakes fail to win our hearts, may have taken our souls

It’s hard to think of something with less potential for terror than cake. It tastes great. It’s soft enough that it can be chewed with no problems, meaning that like diapers and long afternoon naps, it’s something that both the extremely young and extremely old can equally appreciate.

You can even make cake more appealing by shaping it like loveable cartoon characters, like Pokémon’s eternal mascot Pikachu. Surely there’s no way that could result in a terrifying abomination, right?

Wrong.

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Awesome origami artist recreates the creatures of Monster Hunter 【Videos】

Awesome origami artist recreates the creatures of Monster Hunter 【Videos】

Although it’s had only limited success internationally, in its home country of Japan, the video game series Monster Hunter is a massive hit. New titles have been released for the series at a pace of more than one a year, and the franchise can count 17 titles since it began in 2004.

Monster Hunter is popular enough that you could argue that it’s become one of Japan’s national pastimes, so maybe it was only a matter of time before someone thought to combine it with another of the country’s favorite cultural activities, the paper-folding art of origami.

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Free ninja robots mini-games for PlayStation 4 Camera coming later today 【Update: Now live】

Free ninja robots mini-games for PlayStation 4 Camera coming later today 【Update: Now live】

As cute and fun as it is, there is not as yet a tremendous amount to do the PlayStation Camera, the motion-sensing add-on device for PlayStation 4. Every one of Sony’s new consoles comes with a copy of The Playroom, a collection of augmented reality (AR) games which, with a camera plugged in, combine real-time footage of players in their living rooms with computer-generated images to give the impression of sharing the same space. But once you’ve vacuumed up robots with your controller and played a few rounds of AR air hockey with a pal, you’ve seen most of what’s on offer.

Thankfully, Sony has just announced some additional content for The Playroom in the form of NINJA BOTS, which will be available later today and completely free. And it actually looks kind of fun.

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Why doesn’t Japan like first-person shooters? Old characters and World War II, says Sega exec

Why doesn’t Japan like first-person shooters? Old characters and World War II, says Sega exec

Not so long ago, Japanese developers absolutely dominated the console video game market. As time went on, though, developers from other nations started chipping away at that massive market share, particularly as consoles and PCs become more similar to each other in performance profiles.

In particular, Japanese studios haven’t responded to consumer demand for first-person shooters. Franchises such as Electronic Arts’ Battlefield and Activion’s Call of Duty are practically a license to print money, with incremental, near-annual updates that open the floodgates on huge revenue streams for their publishers.

But could the reason Japanese video game makers haven’t embraced the first-person shooter have something to do with Japan’s history?

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Handsome anime store clerk is back, and this time he brought his Persona 4 costume

Handsome anime store clerk is back, and this time he brought his Persona 4 costume

In many ways, Yuya Uchida is like a lot of guys in their 20s. He’s a student with a part time job, and in his free time he likes watching anime and playing fighting games (also known as two of the most common hobbies for Japanese males).

One thing that sets Uchida apart from his peers, though, are his lady-pleasing looks, which have been winning him fans around the globe. The oft-bespectacled young man’s fan base is likely to grow further still when gamers get an eyeful of Uchida indulging in his third hobby, cosplay, with this spot-on Persona 4 costume.

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Looking to make your PlayStation 4 stylish and unique? This real wood case may be just the thing!

Looking to make your PlayStation 4 stylish and unique? This real wood case may be just the thing!

We’re sure many PlayStation fans in Japan have been happily playing away on their newly acquired consoles since the long-awaited launch of the new PlayStation 4 here last month. But electronic appliances and gadgets can sometimes be awfully difficult to coordinate with the rest of your interior decor, can’t they?

If that’s been a concern for you, here’s something from German wood product manufacturer balolo that not only looks lovely but also may help your PS4 blend more smoothly into the setting of your room — a PlayStation 4 cover made from natural high-quality wood!

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Sony gives PlayStation 3 game cases a facelift, netizens complain they can’t tell games apart

Sony gives PlayStation 3 game cases a facelift, netizens complain they can’t tell games apart

Stroll into virtually any games store and, alongside a wall of lime and dark green that marks the domain of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Xbox One, you’ll now find the sea of blue that is the PlayStation section. With its latest console, Sony went with dark blue for the majority of its packaging, with all games shipping in cases with dark blue headers stamped with the stylish “PS4″ logo. The cases are the exact same colour as those for Sony’s portable console, PlayStation Vita, though since Vita game cards are so ridiculously tiny the cases are roughly half the size of the PS4′s.

But now, PlayStation 3 games wearing the same colours as their PS4 and Vita brethren have begun showing up in stores. Clearly Sony is aiming for a unified look across its PlayStation brand, but some gamers in Japan are not exactly pleased about the change and say that the new packaging is confusing.

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Game Review: New dating sim takes you back to school days of flirting with soft-shelled turtles

Game Review: New dating sim takes you back to school days of flirting with soft-shelled turtles

In a country overflowing with every dating simulator game both imaginable and unimaginable it can be hard to carve a niche. We’ve seen games in the past where players challenge themselves to score a date with an alpaca, pigeon, or T-Rex, but for those who want to play the field of the entire animal kingdom a new player has emerged.

The game is called Kikenna Kare ni Koishiteru (In Love with a Dangerous Boyfriend) and in it you assume the role of a young girl who enrolls in a school of a variety of animals from soft-shelled turtles to Japanese horseshoe crabs. We took the game for a spin and now humbly present this review for your consideration.

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Special subway cars in Kyoto are perfect for travelling anime fans

Special subway cars in Kyoto are perfect for travelling anime fans

Kyoto is best known as a bastion of Japan’s traditional past, where the visual and performing arts developed during the feudal era still command the highest respect. Japan’s former capital is also making a bid to become a center for modern popular culture as well, though. 2006 saw the opening of the Kyoto International Manga Museum, and the city also plays host to the annual Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair.

Kyoto’s love for anime is truly a two-way street, as the city serves as the setting for numerous animated series. Apparently the relationship between anime and Kyoto has progressed to a point where the two feel comfortable with an overt display of public affection, in the form of a special subway train plastered with anime graphics.

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Why are these Chinese police officers torching dozens of arcade cabinets?

Why are these Chinese police officers torching dozens of arcade cabinets?

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.

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Bring the boiler room of Spirited Away to virtual life with Oculus Rift

Bring the boiler room of Spirited Away to virtual life with Oculus Rift

The commercial release of the virtual reality headset known as Oculus Rift should be just around the corner, and with the technology looks to be something great allowing you to do everything from being Hatsune Miku to sleeping next to Hatsune Miku, we’re sure that gamers and fans of gadgets alike are positively itching to get hold of it.

Until then, those of us not willing to shell out for a developers’ kit will have to bide our time with YouTube testimonials such as this one done by Cymatic Bruce. In the video Bruce takes us on a virtual tour of none other than the boiler room setting from Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. Even better, the way he presents it allows us all to watch in 3D without the need for an Oculus Rift or any special equipment.

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Fan sews amazing felt versions of Totoro, Sailor Moon, Final Fantasy Black Mage and more

Fan sews amazing felt versions of Totoro, Sailor Moon, Final Fantasy Black Mage and more

As someone who learned to drive a car before he could ride a bike, there are a couple of things that slipped through the cracks on my path of acquiring basic life skills. Sewing, for example, is still an arcane art to me. After all, why go to the hassle of making my own clothes, when there are plenty of stores perfectly willing to take my money in exchange for a new shirt or pair of jeans?

But maybe I’m missing the point. After all, knowing how to sew doesn’t just mean you can design your own wardrobe, it also means you can create awesome anime and video game figures made entirely of felt.

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Creative pet owner turns Xbox 360 controller into dog leash (with poop bag dispenser!)

Creative pet owner turns Xbox 360 controller into dog leash (with poop bag dispenser!)

Just traded in your Xbox 360 for a shiny new PS4 or Xbox One? Want to clear some clutter under your TV set? Proud of your gamerscore and want the world to know that you eat, sleep and breathe video games? Well if you’re a pet owner we’ve just the thing! Instructables user mikeasaurus has come up with a novel use for an old Xbox 360 controller – turning it into a dog leash, which as well as having multiple fire buttons and twin analogue sticks, even comes with a built-in poop bag dispenser.

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Super Mario taking on a new platform: candy!

Super Mario taking on a new platform: candy!

One of Japanese confectionary maker Morinaga’s biggest hits is the Hi-Chew line. The soft, chewy candies come in a variety of fruit flavors, such as grape, strawberry, and green apple.

Morinaga also occasionally shakes things up with limited-edition flavors. Recently the special versions have been golden pineapple and pink grapefruit, but this month they’re joined by another unique offering, Super Mario Hi-Chews.

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Sorry Japan, this Yoshi-themed 3DS XL is just for North America and Europe

Sorry Japan, this Yoshi-themed 3DS XL is just for North America and Europe

Gamers outside of Japan were not doubt disappointed to learn that past limited editions of Nintendo’s popular 3DS portable console were not for sale outside of the company’s homeland, and are likely still sad that they missed out on the Mint White and Pikachu Yellow models that Japanese gamers snapped up in the blink of an eye. But we’re happy to report that for once it’s Japanese gamers who will be turning as green with envy as this Yoshi-emblazoned 3DS XL, as it is heading to North America and Europe only this month alongside the colourful new platformer Yoshi’s New Island.

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New dating simulator’s heroine is a doll….literally!

New dating simulator’s heroine is a doll….literally!

Dating simulator video games are only now starting to build a fan base internationally, but digital romance is such an established genre in Japan that it’s already evolved into several even more segmented sub-niches. Unsurprisingly, most early titles revolved around a high school boy with a harem of willing lasses circling around him. As time went on, dating simulators for girls caught on, resulting in the otome (“maiden”) game where gallant suitors compete for the leading lady’s affections.

Regardless of the protagonist’s gender, though, there have been so many dating simulators released in Japan that you have to do something pretty unusual to stand out from the pack now. We’ve seen titles where the love interest is an alpaca or pigeon, but now comes a romantic video game starring a girl who’s been transformed into a traditional Japanese kokeshi doll.

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Cheeky TV ads for ninja booby video game get full marks for honesty and humor【Video】

Cheeky TV ads for ninja booby video game get full marks for honesty and humor【Video】

Even though it was first released way back in 2012 in Japan, the rest of the world is only now getting its first taste of video game Senran Kagura Burst. The Nintendo 3DS game saw a North American release last November, and was finally made available to European gamers just days ago.

But for an 18-month-old title to attract buyers who could be playing with their shiny new PlayStation 4s and Xbox Ones, Senrann Kagura Burst’s European publishers have to be very clear about what the game excels at, which is just what they’ve done with their tongue-in-cheek ads that make no bones about the game’s most distinguishing feature: gigantic bouncing boobs.

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The Winter Olympics would have been far more fun with Mario Kart power-ups 【Video】

The Winter Olympics would have been far more fun with Mario Kart power-ups 【Video】

Despite having a number of genuinely exciting events, the Winter Olympics is also home to a couple of head-scratchers (I watched the men’s slalom with the Wikipedia entry open trying to work out why some skiers were incurring penalties), and some can get kind of repetitive if watched for more than a few minutes at a time. One event I did enjoy watching, though, was the speed skating; those dudes zip around that track–with blades on their feet–at speeds that would probably make me vomit.

But imagine how much more exciting that event would be if participants had access to the full arsenal of weapon items from Nintendo’s Mario Kart racing games? As this hilarious video shows, with some green shells, a handful of banana skins, and the occasional competitor-shrinking lightning bolt, this event could be so much more interesting.

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