video games

New smartphone game turns your photos of real-world cats into in-game warriors

When designing a role-playing video game, there’s a tricky balance designers have to maintain. Many of today’s gamers aren’t interested in scouring the world map and non-essential dungeons to recruit new party members, but giving the player too few characters to play with makes the game feel dull and lacking in scale.

So the question is, how do you make the process of searching for new companions fun? If you’re mobile developer GeePlus, you let them take photos of cats on their smartphones, then turn those cute snapshots into in-game warriors.

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Massive 5-CD Final Fight soundtrack set lets you hear the game’s music without the punching

It’s been 25 years since the arcade release of video game developer Capcom’s Final Fight. While it wasn’t the first side-scrolling beat ‘em up, at the time of its release it was far and away the best, and the number of sequels Final Fight spawned makes its title almost as ironic as the long-running Final Fantasy’s.

In honor of the classic hitting the quarter-century mark, Capcom’s green-lit a Final Fight CD release. No, it’s not a sequel, nor is it a reissue of the Sega CD version. Instead, it’s a soundtrack collection for practically the entire franchise.

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Super Smash Bros. announcer tries his very best at the Pokemon theme song

Nintendo fans may not be familiar with the name Xander Mobus, but they probably know his voice when they hear it. He’s the announcer for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and WiiU, as well as a few other voice roles, but his talents apparently don’t just end there. A fan asked him to please sing the Pokémon theme song, and he obliged.

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“Don’t play for more than an hour a day”: Japanese video game master gives great advice

Takahashi Toshiyuki, better known as Takahashi Meijin, is a renowned gaming personality in Japan. One of his famous quotes, however, says, “Don’t play more than an hour of games each day.” This sounds like a mother nagging her game-addicted child and perhaps not too convincing coming from someone who plays games for a living. You might wonder, “Why is this guy telling me that I should only play for an hour each day when he probably plays all day long? How am I going to be a world Pokémon champion if I don’t play enough?” However, it appears that there is more to Takahashi’s quote.

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Return to the golden age of arcade gaming at the Japan Game Museum

Located in the countryside of Japan’s Aichi Prefecture is a one-of-a-kind museum that houses an enormous collection of old-school video game cabinets and mechanical arcade games, not to mention what is purported to be the world’s leading pinball machine collection.

But the best thing about this museum is that you don’t have to just look at the arcade exhibits; you can also actually play them! And what’s more, the only price you’ll pay is the entry ticket, meaning you can enjoy all the machines to your heart’s content without having to carry a giant bag of change.

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Six of the “20 Coolest Arcades in the World” are in Japan! Want to know what Japan makes of that?

Mashable recently put out a neat list called ‘The 20 Coolest Arcades in the World’, and Tokyo took more spots than any other place! Well, we wouldn’t expect anything less from the birthplace of the video game industry, really.

Turns out though, Japanese netizens were a bit baffled by Mashable’s choices: “That’s cool??” they spluttered into their keyboards. “That’s not even an arcade!”

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‘LEAGUE OF LEGENDS’ FINALS: Meet the kids facing off in the biggest sporting event of the month

“League of Legends” is one of the most popular e-sports games in the world right now, boasting a staggering 67 million active monthly players, according to a recent article in The New York Times.

The most important moment of the year for “LoL” fans is happening on Saturday: the finals of the “League of Legends” World Championships. It will be held in a stadium in Seoul that was built for the 2002 soccer World Cup.

The top prize is $1 million, a roughly 70-pound trophy called the Summoner’s Cup, and, of course, bragging rights.

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Bros? Kart? Party? Japanese gamers pick their top 5 Mario series

When asked to think of addicting video games, a good chunk of people around the world are likely to recall Nintendo’s iconic Mario series, which is the best-selling game franchise of all time. But the task becomes much more difficult when faced with the dilemma of choosing the best Mario game series within the incredibly varied franchise. How could anyone possibly choose a favorite from the dozens of Mario games and spin-offs spanning all the way back to the NES?

Fortunately, Japanese portal site MyNavi Woman put out a survey in August to ask its readers to choose their favorite Mario games, so you don’t have to make the difficult decision yourself. But you can make a prediction–which five series do you think topped the list?

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Zzz…zzz…pika…pika – The Pikachu bed is here!

Back in the summer, we spent a day chasing Pikachus around Yokohama as part of the amazing, multi-day Pokémon event held in the bayside city. The smile it put on our faces still hasn’t completely faded, but that year’s supply of cuteness came with a price. While we were there we got a hug from one of the Pocket Monster ambassadors, and we now know only too well just how fluffy a Pikachu is.

It’s thrown our whole baseline off for what constitutes cozy and comfy. Compared to a soft Pikachu coat, our blankets now feel like burlap, and it’s been keeping us up at night. Thankfully, there might be a solution, in the form of this awesome Pikachu bed.

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Pokémon’s Ash Ketchum is crazy strong, can easily carry creatures twice his body weight

No one really minds when the creators of movies and TV disregard the laws of the universe a little in the name of producing quality entertainment. Would the space battles in Star Wars have been anywhere near as fun if they had all taken place in complete silence due to the lack of air required to carry sound waves? Not a chance. Does anyone really mind that a lit cigarette doesn’t actually produce enough heat to ignite a puddle of gasoline if it results in those epic, “casually walks away from burning building” shots in action movies? Not in the slightest.

But sometimes such use of artistic licence can slip by entirely unnoticed, and it takes someone to point out a few key facts before the reality of the situation hits home. Case in point: Ash from hit anime series Pokémon seemingly possesses super-human strength, and is able to carry pokémon that weigh vastly more than he does without even breaking a sweat.

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Is the New Nintendo 3DS worth the purchase? Early adopters in Japan share their thoughts

As its super-cutesy ad foretold, Nintendo launched its new and improved version of the 3DS here in Japan on October 11. Boasting features like a bigger, improved 3-D screen and extra buttons, yet retaining much its predecessor’s form factor, the portable appears to be more of an evolution than a revolution, but that didn’t mean people weren’t excited and looking forward to getting their hands on the new hardware.

As owners of the existing models of 3DS and 3DSLL, we aren’t really in the market for the new system quite yet, but were curious to hear what new adopters thought of the upgraded portable. Join us after the jump to find out whether the New Nintendo 3DS will be worth picking up when it launches in your country.

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What? Pokémon Breeder Girl is evolving! Congratulations! She has evolved into a…

Since the release of Pokémon X and Y a year ago, players in Japan were enamored by the comely pokémon breeder Tsuzumi. Her sparkling brown eyes, bright smile, and huge bucket of what appears to be crap had melted the hearts of many an aspiring pokémon master.

However, in an appearance in the anime version of Pokémon: XY Tsuzumi seems to have undergone an evolution of sorts. If the Twitter users who pointed this out are correct I’d have to tip my hat to the producers for adding a gritty touch of reality to an otherwise out-there plot.

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Pokémon goes old-school cool with hanafuda playing cards, wall scrolls, and more

A few days ago, we took a moment to appreciate the amazing combination of Japanese digital entertainment and traditional clothing in the form of the Super Mario kimono. The platforming hero isn’t the only Nintendo character being reimagined along classical Japanese artistic principles, though, as now the creatures of Pokémon have been reborn as hanafuda playing cards, resulting in adorably old-school designs appearing on fans, towels, tea cups, and more.

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Kobe video arcade gets gamers in the fighting spirit with taunting subway posters

Every gamer knows that one of the best ways to get another gamer frustrated and seeking sweet, bloody in-game revenge is a well-placed “your mom” joke or other taunt or insult involving one’s relatives, girl/boyfriend, dog, cat or the size of certain parts of the target’s anatomy.

Which might mean that this Kobe video game arcade – which, remember, are still quite popular in Japan – may have struck marketing gold with this new ad campaign featuring insulting posters plastered all over the subway.

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Nintendo fan’s Super Mario kimono is an awesome mix of retro gaming and historical fashion

You could make the argument that Nintendo is the most “Japanese” of the major video game companies. Obviously that’s a label you can’t apply to Microsoft, but even compared to internationally focused Sony, with design studios and production teams all over the world, more of Nintendo’s products are developed domestically, and many in Kyoto, the quintessential Japanese city.

So it’s kind of ironic that the company’s best-known character, Mario, is Italian. Still, the video game hero is one of the best choices for a symbol of Japanese pop culture, and now he’s been combined with Japanese traditional culture in an awesome Mario kimono.

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Dressing up as Final Fantasy’s Squall for Halloween? You need this real-life gunblade 【Video】

Back at the start of the year, we all had the urge to go out and fight some monsters when we saw Hollywood blacksmith Tony Swatton recreate the massive sword wielded by Final Fantasy VII’s Sephiroth. Of course, Sephiroth is just one member of the gigantic collective cast of the long-running video game franchise. With so many more iconic weapons to choose from, it was only a matter of time until craftsmen went to work on armaments from the other games in the series, and next up is a real-life version of Squall’s gunblade from Final Fantasy VIII.

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Video shows 13 experiences every Japanese gamer had with Nintendo’s Famicom

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that a lot of our readers have fond memories of the glory days of the Nintendo Entertainment System. As nostalgic as the iconic piece of 8-bit hardware is for North American and European gamers, though, it’s even more so for Japanese fans, who got the equivalent Famicom years before the NES launched overseas.

Japanese humor website CuRAZY recently stopped to take a look back at all the time they spent with a tiny red controller in hand during their formative years, putting together this video of 13 Famicom experiences pretty much every Japanese gamer had.

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6 creative uses for old video game hardware

Dedicated collectors will pay vast sums of money for boxed, mint-condition gaming hardware or rare game cartridges. But with so many millions of units having been produced over the years, the sad truth is that much of the gaming gear we once adored or spent months saving up to buy now sits broken, gathering dust on a shelf somewhere.

So why not turn this old junk into something more useful? Recently shared by Japanese news site Naver Matome, these six creative uses for old gaming hardware range from the simple-but-effective to genuinely impressive, and may just inspire you to dust off that NES your brother spilt Coke over all those years ago.

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Tetsuya Nomura draws Sora for Kingdom Hearts -HD 2.5 ReMIX- release

Square Enix began streaming a video on Thursday of Kingdom Hearts series director Tetsuya Nomura drawing Sora to promote the release of the Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX game. The game shipped for the PlayStation 3 in Japan on Thursday.

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We raid the new Final Fantasy restaurant on our quest for drinks, desserts, and blue ramen

Earlier this year, we stopped by Artnia, the café run by video game publisher Square Enix, to munch on buster sword chocolates and drink material cocktails. Just as you’d expect from the company behind some of Japan’s biggest RPG franchises, though, there’s now an upgraded sequel, the Eorzea Café, with an even larger menu of Final Fantasy themed foods.

Led by our sense of adventure and gnawing appetite, we journeyed to the strange and wonderful land of Tokyo’s Akihabara to check it out.

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