video games

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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Slimes in your glass are a good thing as long as they’re awesome Dragon Quest ice cubes

Slimes in your glass are a good thing as long as they’re awesome Dragon Quest ice cubes

There are some things that are nice to have in your drink, such as those little paper umbrellas, or a shot of bourbon. On the other end of the spectrum, there are things no one’s happy about having slipped into their beverage, like a mickey, whether it be the mouse or the incapacitating drug.

Ordinarily, slimes would fall into the latter category. But what if the slime were actually an ice-cube, and shaped like the beloved mascot monsters from role-playing game series Dragon Quest?

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Luigi’s ‘death stare’ makes it into Japanese Mario Kart 8 commercial

Luigi’s ‘death stare’ makes it into Japanese Mario Kart 8 commercial

Luigi’s competitive dark side was discovered back in May with the release of Mario Kart 8. Dubbed “Luigi’s Death Stare,” the character achieved meme status after appearing in a multitude of fan videos on YouTube. Nintendo, perhaps intentionally, included Luigi’s now signature look in a recent Japanese Mario Kart commercial.

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Gamer discovers his deceased father’s ghost on an old Xbox game, challenges it to a race

Gamer discovers his deceased father’s ghost on an old Xbox game, challenges it to a race

Aside from indirectly putting the phrase, “If you build it, they will come,” into the popular lexicon (the actual line in the movie is “If you build it, he will come”), the 1989 film Field of Dreams is remembered for the scene where the main character plays a game of catch with the spirit of his dead father. It’s a touching and emotional scene, but sadly the sort of thing that’s only possible with movie magic.

At least, that’s true if we’re talking about baseball. But for parents and kids who bond through a love of video games, it’s actually possible to play together after a loved one passes away, as one teen recently found out.

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No peripheral vision – Japan’s gamers sound off on hardware add-on nightmares

No peripheral vision – Japan’s gamers sound off on hardware add-on nightmares

One of the reasons I’ve done most of my video gaming with a console instead of a PC is the simplicity, on the consumer end, of the hardware. After plopping down the money for the system, you’re pretty much good to go, without the need to continually tinker with and incrementally upgrade it in order to play the latest games.

Still, that doesn’t mean everyone is satisfied to leave well enough alone in the console and handheld world, as evidenced by the piles of hardware add-ons that have been released over the years. Not every addition is a good one, though, as illustrated by the Japanese gamers who flocked to website Niconico News to share their video game peripheral horror stories.

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Pikachu’s dramatic decline in popularity captured in photos

Pikachu’s dramatic decline in popularity captured in photos

Back in the day, Pikachu was just the best. He was cute, bold and dangerous all at the same time, had a cute voice and said nothing but his own name. People the world over loved him. Then Pokemon got like 5,000 other collectible monsters and Pikachu kind of took a backseat to the cooler new kids in class.

For a while, Pikachu clung to his fame like an aging Hollywood star exhibiting a little too much potbelly and affinity for sub sandwiches, but now, like a DJ part-timing as a kid’s birthday party clown, he’s stooped to new lows – showing up for any random appearance with five to ten audience members and the promise of some Tauros meat.

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Pikachu, we eat you! – A visit to Tokyo’s Pokémon restaurant

Pikachu, we eat you! – A visit to Tokyo’s Pokémon restaurant

In the almost 20 years since the first Pokémon title was released for Nintendo’s Game Boy, the franchise has grown to include toys, anime, and even clothing. But while we’ve played, watched, and worn Pokémon, earlier this month we found out we’d be getting a chance to eat it as well, when we heard about a Pokémon restaurant opening in downtown Tokyo.

Curious to see if the most famous Pocket Monster tastes as good as he looks, we paid a visit to the Pikachu Cafe to see for ourselves.

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Metal Gear Solid V’s child soldiers make an accidental news cameo

Metal Gear Solid V’s child soldiers make an accidental news cameo

Good stock photos can be hard to come by sometimes, especially if they’re of niche matters like child soldiers. So when a bustling newsroom intern tracks down a perfect photo of children wielding rifles and sitting on tanks, it’s too good to pass up. Even if the photo looks a little off.

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Japan’s kids love game series Yo-Kai Watch, and one fan says it’s because grownups don’t

Japan’s kids love game series Yo-Kai Watch, and one fan says it’s because grownups don’t

As someone who never completely outgrew his love of animation and video games, I try to at least keep up with what’s popular with kids in Japan. I can identify Pikachu, Squirtle, and a handful more of the cute cockfighting stand-ins from Pokémon. If I visit my in-laws and my nieces are watching an episode of PreCure, I know that it’s about a team of friends who fight evil with their magical powers (even if I have no idea how one of the girls got stuck with “The bursting scent of lemons!” as her special ability).

Still, until recently I hadn’t heard a single thing about Yo-Kai Watch, Japan’s current megahit among the elementary school set. At first I thought this was weird, but as it turns out Yo-Kai Watch’s popularity isn’t in spite of people in my age group not knowing about it, but because of it.

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Keep your iPhone safe and retro-gamer chic with Famicom protective film

Keep your iPhone safe and retro-gamer chic with Famicom protective film

Yesterday, Nintendo’s Famicom, known internationally as the NES, celebrated its 31st birthday. While it may not have been the first video game console, the way Nintendo’s 8-bit system combined, for its time, high-end processing power, pleasing aesthetics, and user-friendliness elevated it to a level above both its predecessors and would-be rivals.

The Famicom was the sort of sweeping, segment-defining success that didn’t come along again until the iPhone took over the smartphone market. Now, you can combine those two iconic pieces of Nintendo and Apple hardware with a Famicom protective film for your iPhone.

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Is boob-shaped controller a clever gag ad, pie in the sky dream, or the future of gaming? 【Video】

Is boob-shaped controller a clever gag ad, pie in the sky dream, or the future of gaming? 【Video】

While plenty of video games use busty female characters to try to spice up their gameplay and drum up sales, few are as unabashed and exuberant in their mammary motivations as Senran Kagura. The bosomy brainchild of producer Kenichiro Takaki, Senran Kagura is an action title centered on a group of young female ninja that lets players fight hordes of enemies while staring at oversized, under-supported breasts.

Recently, though, a new round of inspiration smacked Takaki in the face, as he realized that cramming his series full of prodigious chests is only half of the equation of letting people play games with big breasts.

So he set out to design a game controller shaped like a pair of boobs.

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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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