video games

Konami confirms autumn release for Winning Eleven 2014, releases new trailer

Earlier today, video game heavyweight Konami Corporation unveiled a new page on its official website dedicated to the newest instalment in its popular football series World Soccer Winning Eleven 2014 (or Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 in the West), along with a new trailer showing the game off in all its ultra-realistic glory.

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Word of a brand new Wii U Zelda not so far away?

While many critics are pointing to the underwhelming performance of Nintendo’s Wii U platform as yet another sign that the video game giant should beat a hasty retreat from the hardware industry and instead become a multi-platform publisher, recent news from the house of Mario suggests that there’s plenty of life in the old dog yet.

With dozens of new first-party titles arriving in the next 12 months, the Wii U is gradually beginning to pick up steam. But when President and CEO of Nintendo Satoru Iwata made reference to a brand new The Legend of Zelda title for Wii U in a recent interview with Britain’s The Guardian, people really started paying attention.

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Capcom Japan offering limited edition ‘blood pillow’ prize to Phoenix Wright fans

Upcoming Nintendo 3DS title Gyakuten Saiban 5 (known in the English-speaking world as Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies) may still be a couple of months away from release in the West, but gamers in Japan are already charging their portable consoles in preparation for its launch this Thursday.

Developer Capcom, too, is helping fans get back into detective mode after their brief hiatus by asking visitors to the official Phoenix Wright website to investigate a crime scene and spot the contradictions in three witness statements. Those who can successfully solve the puzzle will be entered into a prize draw to win one of 50 ‘blood pillows’ designed to transform any sleeping gamer into the victim of a grizzly cartoon murder.

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Chopsticks: why every gamer should know how to use them

In an age when we do the majority of our multiplayer gaming online, sometimes separated by entire oceans and continents, there’s nothing quite like a bit of couch co-op or split-screen multiplayer. I refer, of course, to the act of playing games together in the same room using a single screen; something that until the arrival of cheap, reliable internet was the only form of multiplayer video gaming there was. Make a night of it with a few chilled drinks, snacks and a couple of pizzas, and you and your gamer pals are in for a great time.

But with this infinitely more sociable form of gaming there also comes great danger: the risk of gross, greasy controllers. I’m sure many of you can recall taking a controller from a friend or sibling during a long afternoon playing Street Fighter II only to find it positively dripping with perspiration. What’s even worse is when said hand sweat is mixed up with pizza grease and cheesy powder from the endless bags of Doritos and Cheetos you and your friends have been working your way though.

It is time, my gamer friends, to learn to use chopsticks.

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Dozens of new Nintendo games available to play for free at Comic-Con 2013!

Nintendo has announced that it will be giving visitors to this year’s San Diego Comic-Con event the chance to get their hands on a number of as-yet-unreleased Nintendo games for Wii U and 3DS.

Being based in Japan, the spiritual home of video games, we’re used to feeling smug about getting our sticky fingers on most of Nintendo’s titles before many in the West, so you can be sure this news has left us greener than Luigi’s cap with envy!

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Sony coughs up US$375,000 to British authorities for security breach

Withdrawing its previous objection, Sony Corporation has agreed to pay a civil fine of 37.5 million yen (about US$375,000) to British authorities after the 2011 security breach of its online gaming network resulted in the leakage of millions of users’ personal information.

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Calling all retro gamers! 1,000 Nintendo consoles up for grabs on Yahoo! Auctions

Launched in 1983 in Japan, Nintendo’s Family Computer, or Famicom as it is more fondly known, quickly became a household name thanks to titles like Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. Strikingly different in design to its Western counterpart, the NES, the Famicom’s low profile with its multitude of buttons and ridges and docking slots for a pair of gold and burgundy controllers is now considered to be an iconic piece of video game hardware, frequently bought and sold at auction or at used game stores.

While many gamers would no doubt quite like the idea of picking a Famicom up for themselves and reliving a few 8-bit classics, we’re not entirely sure how many people would be in the market to buy 1,000 of the things all at once…

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Gamers revolt after Nintendo prohibits the streaming of Smash Bros at fighting game tournament

Ladies and gentlemen, the internet has a voice, and it will be heard.

In news that is sure to be met with cheers from all around the globe, multinational video game company Nintendo has reversed its earlier decision not to allow the streaming of footage of popular brawler Super Smash Bros. Melee at the upcoming Evo Championship Series fighting game tournament in Las Vegas. And it’s all thanks to the power of the people.

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He was a good man; a perverted man; a man who liked games in which female characters’ unfeasibly large breasts bounce around with every tiny movement of their body, and clothes dissolve into pixel dust with every well-timed button press or click. Today, ladies and gentlemen, we mourn an ero-gamer.

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Buy, play, quit – 10 videogames Japanese players gave up on

With hundreds of game sites and magazines at our disposal, and with more amateur reviewers banging away at keyboards than ever before, making an uninformed purchase is now, thankfully, an extremely rare occurrence for any gamer. Gone are the days when we stood in the store nursing our pocket-money, studying the backs of Commodore 64 cassette cases and basing purchasing decisions entirely on cover art and postage stamp-sized screenshots; we have more information at our disposal than ever, and have only ourselves to blame if we slip up.

Even so, there are times when even the most informed gamer picks up a title that just isn’t their cup of tea. Be it the pacing of the game, an unorthodox control scheme or a steep learning curve, there are some games that we simply give up on and either trade in or shove in a drawer. Of course, Japanese gamers are no exception, with more than 15 percent of those asked in a recent survey admitting that they had unceremoniously dumped a game despite barely starting it. More than just a list of shame, though, the results of the survey turned up some great video game blasts from the past, not to mention a few titles so obscure that we’d almost forgotten they existed…

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Miss Korea 2013 entrants transformed into world’s toughest puzzle game

Calling all puzzle game fans! If you think you’re a Tetris master or can bust more moves than Bub and Bob put together, how about taking on this cunning new iPad game, which has players rearrange the now infamous Miss Korea 2013 entrants into (even more) identical rows to win?

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We learn the terrifying secret of Silent Hill ramen

Since 1999, Konami’s Silent Hill horror series has been spooking gamers with its mysterious, reality-bending setting and plotlines, not to mention its collection of grotesque, otherworldly creatures like the appropriately-named Pyramid Head, a giant with a large, triangular head who stalks the game’s protagonist while carrying an enormous blade.

Konami has recently formed a partnership with a number of ramen restaurants across Japan to serve Silent Hill ramen. But just what exactly happens when you use a horror story that’s dripping with gore as the inspiration for food? We headed to Hajime, a Tokyo restaurant that offers the terrifying noodles, to find out.

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Mario Kart Arcade Grand Prix DX screeching into game centres across Japan this month

Start your engines, boys and girls! Long-running racing series Mario Kart is making its third entry into the arcade scene, with Mario Kart Arcade Grand Prix DX launching this July in Japanese video arcades!

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The restaurant that powered the team behind one of Nintendo’s biggest hits

Kyoto has a long-standing reputation as a center of traditional culture, justified by its numerous significant temples and shrines, not to mention the artwork they house and their surrounding gardens. However, the city is also home to a site of great importance to modern pop culture: the headquarters of video game maker Nintendo, responsible for many of the titles that shaped modern gaming.

There’s a saying in Japan, though, that you can’t win a battle on an empty stomach, and that goes for designing great games, too. We recently visited the restaurant that powered the development team of one of Nintendo’s biggest hits ever.

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Dragon Quest slime salt and pepper shakers ironically perfect for keeping your spices dry

Despite “dragon” being right there in the title, the Dragon Quest video game series doesn’t really have an iconic dragon. Japan’s most widely-loved role-playing franchise doesn’t feature a particularly popular protagonist either, as each installment features a new, mostly mute hero.

Instead, mascot duties fall to the weakest enemy in each of the games, the lowly slime. Because of its cuteness and the almost complete lack of threat it poses to the player, the slime has become a fan favorite, with a shape as instantly recognizable as a Coca Cola bottle.

The franchise’s numerous titles for home and handheld consoles allow gamers to get their fix from the sofa or on the train, but now there’s even a way to enjoy Dagon Quest at your kitchen table.

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Nintendo Direct broadcast focuses on Pikmin 3, includes a moment of minor awkwardness

Yesterday at 8 p.m. Japan Standard Time, Kyoto-based video game giant Nintendo broadcast a brand new episode of its unique Nintendo Direct online presentation series, which the company uses to showcase new games and bring fans news on upcoming releases. Last night’s broadcast was somewhat unusual, however, in that popular Japanese comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto joined industry legend and creator of Super Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto, to play a little of the highly anticipated upcoming Wii U title Pikmin 3. Today, as well as with discussion of the beautiful new Pikmin outing, online bulletin boards are abuzz after the conversation between the two men both raised eyebrows and got a surprising amount of laughs from viewers at home.

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‘An experience unlike any other’ – Japanese gamers heap praise on The Last of Us

Even in the age of worldwide launches, the Japanese releases of Western video games and movies are notoriously late, with some titles taking months longer to appear on shop shelves or movie theatre marquees than in other countries. Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us is no exception, although mercifully this time Japanese gamers only had to wait six days longer than the rest of the world to begin their digital adventure, which arrived with the addition of a Japanese voice track for those who abhor subtitles.

One of this year’s most anticipated titles, video game fans the world over have followed The Last of Us‘s development closely, falling on teaser trailers and screen shots like the ravenous mutated humans that populate the game’s devastated urban environments. Finally, some 18 months after its unveiling at 2011’s Spike Video Game Awards, The Last of Us is in gamers’ hands. And, despite its design being Western in almost every respect, Naughty Dog’s tale of survival and emotional turmoil is wowing gamers all over Japan.

The following does not contain spoilers, but those who wish to experience the game with no prior knowledge whatsoever may want to ask a friend to check it out first.

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Inside a hero – creative modeller takes a scalpel to Super Mario

Honestly, the only things we ever thought we’d find inside Super Mario were copious amounts of barely chewed mushrooms and maybe some ravioli. Upon cutting him open, though, this creative netizen felt that Mario’s insides were severely lacking, so decided to go to work filling him out with a pint-sized skeleton and some vital organs.

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Super Mario Brothers: the final cake tier

“Dear Mario, please come to the castle. I have baked a cake for you!” reads the letter from Princess Peach during the opening sequence of Super Mario 64. Well thanks very much, Peachy-hime, but we’ve actually had a better offer from Australia where – spiders, jellyfish and marsupials with the power to kick your face off included – it’s probably safer than a land populated by mushrooms with teeth, hammer-throwing turtles and a fire-breathing king.

Besides, this is without a doubt the cake of our 8-bit childhood dreams.

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Microsoft does complete U-turn on Xbox One used game restrictions, approach to net access

In a move that has at once shocked and thrilled gamers across the globe, Microsoft announced earlier today that it is to scrap controversial plans to inhibit the trading and sharing of games for its upcoming home system, Xbox One. The company also assures consumers that they will no longer be required to connect their console to the internet every 24 hours to validate their software.

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