video games

Happy birthday, Famicom! The console that bought video games back from the dead turns 31 today

Happy birthday, Famicom! The console that bought video games back from the dead turns 31 today

The Nintendo Family Computer, which quickly came to be known by the abbreviation-loving Japanese simply as the Famicom, was launched in its native land in 1983, a time when the world was still in black-and-white and people travelled to work by horse-drawn cart. It was a grim, unforgiving time, but games like Donkey Kong and Popeye made life that bit brighter, and before long people even had electricity and TV sets to connect their new consoles to instead of just staring at the back of the games’ boxes.

Today, on this space-age date of July 15, 2014, the Famicom turns 31 years old, so we felt it would be a good time to think about just how much we owe this little bundle of plastic and circuitry.

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Nintendo power: Mercedes-Benz Japan sees influx of customers following Super Mario commercial

Nintendo power: Mercedes-Benz Japan sees influx of customers following Super Mario commercial

Remember back in May this year when Mercedes-Benz teamed up with Nintendo to create an unusual little ad for the new Mercedes-Benz GLA? Featuring none other than Nintendo’s Super Mario behind the wheel of the sleek SUV, the commercial became quite the hit, with media and news outlets all over the world reporting on it.

Well, as it happens, it wasn’t just YouTube users the commercial was appealing to: Mercedes-Benz Japan has recently announced that it has seen a marked increase in visitors to its showrooms and demand for the car driven by this muscular Mario was far higher than expected.

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List of four desirable traits in an otaku girlfriend may not be the most well-thought-out

List of four desirable traits in an otaku girlfriend may not be the most well-thought-out

With more and more women identifying themselves as otaku, Japan’s super hardcore fans of things such as anime and video games, the odds of an otaku male finding a like-minded girlfriend aren’t so bad. Recently, there have even been professionally run matchmaking events to help romantically compatible anime-loving singles find one another.

Still, it’s human nature to always want more. Not too long ago many guys would have considered a girl a keeper simply for accepting their otaku lifestyle, but one group of illustrators has thought up four specific ways they’d want their girlfriend’s otaku leanings to manifest.

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Cry into your Mega Man cushion while you wait in vain for a new game in the series

Cry into your Mega Man cushion while you wait in vain for a new game in the series

Despite the reluctance of video game publisher Capcom to green-light any new titles, there’s a lot to love about the Mega Man franchise, including creative boss battles, catchy music, and tough but fair challenges. The defining characteristic of the series, though, is the ability to acquire the weapons of your fallen foes, upgrading your starting buster gun so that it fires flames, saw blades, or that weird circle of leaves from Mega Man 2.

Mega Man only has a limited number of shots with each weapon, though. Thankfully, he can restock his health and weapon energy by picking up containers called E Tanks during each level. Still, there never seem to be enough E Tanks about when you really need them, so if you’re a trigger happy Mega Man fan, you might want to keep one lying around your living room in the form of this cool E-Tank cushion.

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Despite success abroad, even Sony’s PlayStation 4 can’t inject life into Japan’s console market

Despite success abroad, even Sony’s PlayStation 4 can’t inject life into Japan’s console market

There was quite the uproar when Sony announced that it would be releasing its newest console in its homeland months after going on sale in other territories. Judging by the reception the console has received, though, it looks like Sony may have been right to put Japan last when it came to PlayStation 4.

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Keep running right with new line of Super Mario Bros-themed sneakers from Converse

Keep running right with new line of Super Mario Bros-themed sneakers from Converse

Although Mario is occasionally seen riding atop his faithful dinosaur companion Yoshi, and Mercedes-Benz recently hooked him up with a pretty sweet ride, Nintendo’s biggest hero has spent most of his adventures on foot. Even after three decades of running and jumping, though, Mario always seems up for the latest physical challenge life throws at him.

He must have some pretty comfortable shoes, and now thanks to Converse, you can try on a pair of Mario kicks for yourself.

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Feel lame and old by watching kids react to a Nintendo Game Boy for the first time

Feel lame and old by watching kids react to a Nintendo Game Boy for the first time

In the latest episode of their popular “React” series, YouTubers The Fine Bros decided to give their group of tech-savvy kids none other than an original Nintendo Game Boy to see what they’d make of it. As you might expect, what with the portable console now being roughly 25 years old, many of the kids had absolutely no idea what it was, nor even how to turn the thing on.

So join us after the jump to see little kids fumbling to insert game cartridges, failing to find the power switch and saying things like “You have to actually press buttons” and “I kinda feel sad for the people in the past.”

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Random people attacked by Street Fighter’s Chun-Li, animated in gifs for our pleasure

Random people attacked by Street Fighter’s Chun-Li, animated in gifs for our pleasure

Back in Street Fighter II‘s heyday, I was always bothered by Chun-Li’s claim to be “the strongest woman in the world.” It’s odd in the first place that she would put a glass ceiling over herself by claiming to be only the strongest woman rather than the strongest person, but this is only magnified by the fact she was (at the time) the only woman in the global tournament.

However, now new animated gif evidence has emerged revealing why Chun-Li was so hung up on calling herself the strongest woman. It seems she spends most of her time randomly attacking other females with fireballs and spinning bird kicks without warning.

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【TBT】Tokyo’s Pico Pico Cafe: Where video games meet coffee

【TBT】Tokyo’s Pico Pico Cafe: Where video games meet coffee

Despite having visited the town of Kichijoji in Tokyo on a near daily basis for over a year, it wasn’t until I sat down with video game developer James Kay and started chatting about our mutual love of pixels and coffee that I learned about Pico Pico Cafe, a cosy corner perched at the top of a eight-storey building just minutes from Kichijoji station.

After dropping the staff a line, RocketNews24 headed over for a coffee and a chat. We hadn’t gone two steps inside, however, before we found ourselves completely enamoured with the unique cafe’s warm, homely interior and – perhaps most of all for this life-long gamer – the subtle dashes of video game culture in every other nook and cranny.

Tons of cool photos after the jump.

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Continue? Save your iPhone from a battering with these protective Street Fighter II cases

Continue? Save your iPhone from a battering with these protective Street Fighter II cases

While Mortal Kombat gets most of the attention, whether positive or negative, for violence in fighting video games, Capcom’s Street Fighter II, the title that established the genre as gamers know it today, had some pretty grisly graphics, too. Unlike modern polygon fighters which zoom in on the victorious character as he or she strikes a victory pose, Street fighter II cut away to a different screen after each match, which showed the gory details of what a losing combatant would look like after taking a few too many hadokens or spinning bird kicks to the face.

Now, with a new set of iPhone cases, you can adorn your smartphone with the losing portrait of the Street Fighter II character you like best, or perhaps hate the most.

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Pokeberu, Mr. Legs, and cho beri ba: Eight Japanese words young people can’t understand

Pokeberu, Mr. Legs, and cho beri ba: Eight Japanese words young people can’t understand

After spending a year in college studying in Tokyo, I moved back to Los Angeles for about two years before coming back to Japan for work. Having always prided myself on my familiarity with Japanese slang (partly to distract myself from my terrible penmanship when writing kanji characters), I was surprised to find out how many new terms had sprung up in just the 22 months I’d been away.

At the same time, it turned out that a few of the vocabulary words I’d picked up while studying abroad had since passed their expiration dates and become obsolete. This wasn’t a one-time transition, either, as language is constantly evolving, and today we bring you a list of eight words that’ll at best make you sound like a senior citizen, and at worst simply won’t be understood by anyone under the age of 25.

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Behold: The world’s fastest Super Mario Bros. speed run

Behold: The world’s fastest Super Mario Bros. speed run

Truth be told, I’ve never been a huge fan of video game speed runs. All too often, recordings show players exploiting a game’s code to the point that it hardly seems like they’re playing the game any more, taking all the fun (and some would argue genuine skill) out of it.

But this new record performed by a gamer known only as ‘Blubber’ is nothing short of spectacular and deserves the attention of anyone who ever picked up an NES controller during their childhood.

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Sunburned Super Famicom catches collector’s eye

Sunburned Super Famicom catches collector’s eye

As the rainy season in Japan begins to wind down and we head into the sweet spot of midsummer, more and more people are hitting the beach and working on their tans. For followers of a certain fashion aesthetic, there’s nothing more appealing than a beautifully bronzed body, which holds true whether we’re talking about men, women, or even video game consoles, it seems.

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No console? No problem! Sony tests streaming video games direct to TV sets

No console? No problem! Sony tests streaming video games direct to TV sets

Those of you who don’t immediately catch fire the second you step outdoors may not yet have heard of PlayStation Now. Essentially the video game equivalent of Netflix, the service is due to be rolled out on July 31 and will, in theory, allow PlayStation 4 owners to pay to stream and play a selection of PlayStation 1, 2 and 3 games without having to download them first, with all the processing being done in the cloud.

But Sony is not content with going after just existing PlayStation owners, oh no. As promised at the beginning of the year, the company is now starting beta trials of the game rental service for certain high-end Sony TVs. That’s right, even if you don’t own an actual PlayStation console you’ll soon be able to play PlayStation games.

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Final Fantasy Tactics concert is coming to Tokyo, completely free, and needs volunteers

Final Fantasy Tactics concert is coming to Tokyo, completely free, and needs volunteers

Even though the numbered sequels in the Final Fantasy video game series stretch all the way up to 14, there are actually far more titles than that in the franchise. One of the most popular spinoffs to Square Enix’s massively successful role-playing game is Final Fantasy Tactics, thanks to its deep customization, complex and unpredictable plot, and stirring soundtrack.

The strategy role-playing game has been entertaining fans for the past 17 years, and as testament to its lasting appeal, this summer a symphony orchestra concert will be held dedicated to the music of Final Fantasy Tactics. And best of all, it’s free.

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Wii U’s Hyrule Warriors is actually starting to look pretty spectacular 【Pics & Video】

Wii U’s Hyrule Warriors is actually starting to look pretty spectacular 【Pics & Video】

It’s been a tough few years for Nintendo. Although the 3DS continues to sell very well, its home console Wii U has barely even registered on consumers’ radar since debuting in 2012, and even long-time fans are becoming increasingly restless between big releases. Thankfully, the latter half of 2014 looks set to be a little sunnier for Nintendo, with the recently released Mario Kart 8 reportedly quadrupling Wii U sales, and now Tecmo Koei’s Zelda/Dynasty Warriors mashup Hyrule Warriors looks set to be one of the biggest titles of the summer.

As well as updating its official Hyrule Warriors website with new screens earlier today, developer Tecmo Koei has released a video showing none other than Princess Zelda smashing her way through hordes of enemies and showing off her skills.

Gorgeous pics and the full video after the jump.

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What’s in a name? Weird Super Mario World block prompts discussion among Japanese netizens

What’s in a name? Weird Super Mario World block prompts discussion among Japanese netizens

Regular readers will no doubt already know that I consider myself kind of a big gamer. Since a very young age, I wasted spent countless hours with my various computers and consoles finding pretty much every secret in every game I owned, and to this day my favourite topic of conversation remains video games.

I’d be the first to admit that amount of random game-related trivia in my head borders on the obsessive, but even I blanked when one Japanese netizen casually asked what the object pictured above, from 16-bit classic Super Mario World, was officially called.

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A Dragon Quest slime glass draws near! What will you drink?

A Dragon Quest slime glass draws near! What will you drink?

Even though Dragon Quest has been one of Japan’s most popular video game franchises since its start in 1986, it doesn’t really have an iconic hero. Like many long-running role-playing game series, each installment brings in a fresh cast of characters, and despite the name, Dragon Quest doesn’t have an instantly recognizable recurring dragon, either.

Instead, the face of the franchise is the lowly slime, ordinarily the very first enemy the player encounters. The monster shows up in each and every Dragon Quest game, and now, it’s ready to show up in your kitchen, too, with this wobbling slime drinking glass.

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Time to fight! Japan-only Hyrule Warriors special editions come with awesome Triforce clock

Time to fight! Japan-only Hyrule Warriors special editions come with awesome Triforce clock

I’ve never really been one for special editions of video games. At first they seem like a great idea, with terms like “rare” and “collector’s edition” making us feel like we’d be missing out if we didn’t pick one up, but when you later realise that there are thousands of other people out there with the same cheaply made “limited” trinkets – most of which are likely to end up in landfills a few years down the line anyway – that Master Chief helmet or deluxe orc statue suddenly doesn’t seem quite so essential.

The Triforce clock that comes with special editions of upcoming Wii U hack and slash title Hyrule Warriors, however, is by far the coolest gaming goodie we’ve seen in years, and for once I’m actually considering paying extra money for the additional chunk of plastic.

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New York City’s Barcade is all about the classic Japanese games

New York City’s Barcade is all about the classic Japanese games

Nostalgic for Japanese video games from the late 1970s and ‘80s? Barcade, a combination bar and arcade, recently opened in Chelsea, Manhattan with about a dozen classics from Japanese game developers such as Taito, Nintendo, Namco, and Konami.

The games are still only a quarter (there are change machines on site), and the machines are in great condition. Marvel at the old-school graphics of Space Invaders, Galaga, Mappy, Crazy Climber, and Frogger.

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