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Honkey Kong: Making Hong Kong’s Streets Look Like 2-D Games 【Photos】

Life was so much simpler in 2-D. Move right, jump, duck, jump again. You knew where you were going. Now that we can move in three dimensions there are just far too many choices and mistakes to be made; it’s little wonder we all spend so much time staring at our flat smartphone screens instead of looking at the real world around us.

Swedish photographer Christian Aslund is evidently a man who appreciates the simplicity of old-school side-scrolling platform games. These photos, taken from his “Honkey Kong”series (name after the city in which the photos were taken and with a nod to classic platformer Donkey Kong), show us what happens when you approach seemingly ordinary urban scenes from an unusual angle and with a little creativity.

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Waves Frozen in Place on Lake Kizaki, Nagano Prefecture

Winter. It’s cold and miserable most days, but every so often the freezing winds produce something magical that is awesome enough to take your mind off of your frozen toes. This is one of those things.

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Want! Seven Weird and Wonderful Smartphone and Tablet-Integrated Toys for Grown Ups

There has arguably never been a more popular big kids’ toy than the smartphone. While models, personal music players, action figures and board games have existed for generations, never has the human race been more enamoured with a single gadget. Smartphones have become such an integral part of our lives that, on the rare occasion that they are separated from their rectangles of plastic and finger-friendly glass, many people experience genuine feelings of anxiety and simply cannot get through their day as they normally would.

With traditional board games and toys already falling to the wayside and smartphones, tablets and laptops now topping kids’ Christmas wish lists, it’s only natural for toy makers to strive to implement the new technology into their own creations. But what happens when old toys meet new tech? As it turns out, the result can sometimes be quite wonderful.

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The Mona Lisa: Kind of a Babe During College

Despite generations of art lovers remarking on her beauty, we had no idea until now that the subject of Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous painting was such a cutie.

In an effort to treat the world-famous subject to a much-needed image change, a clever Internet user over in China took the interesting step of giving her an Asian college student-style haircut, instantly transforming her from smirking lady-in-waiting to smoking hottie.

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New Video Game Evoland Turns Technological Advancement into a Game in its Own Right

While it’s true that a number of the world’s best-selling action RPGs – including those that this new video game emulates – hail from Japan, we have to admit that we’re taking the unusual step of reporting on non-Asia specific news with this article; the reason being that it’s simply it’s too awesome not to share.

What you’re about to witness is a short promotional video for Evoland, a new game from Boreaux-based Shiro Games that’s just a few weeks away from release. But this is no ordinary video game. Imagine playing a game that quite literally evolves as you progress; its graphics, sound and gameplay mechanics gradually changing from those of the early 80s to the multi-million dollar standards set by this generation’s sprawling action RPGs.

Taking its cues from industry greats like The Legend of Zelda, Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, Evoland allows players to experience first-hand both the growth of the genre and the technological advancements that the video game industry has made over the past three decades, meaning that the game you finish will be almost unrecognizably different to that which you originally began.

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Fact: CDs and Candles Produce Stunning Effects When Microwaved (Don’t Try This at Home)

Man, I wish someone told me this in the days of free AOL trial CDs.

It seems that putting an ordinary Compact Disc into your average microwave creates freaky lightning and a dramatic fiery demise.

Although you might expect them simply to burn up like an iPhone does, these data storage discs actually provide a kick-ass light show first.

This little known scientific gem was beautifully photographed and uploaded to Twitter, which then led to the discovery of a YouTube video documenting microwaved CDs.  So please don’t kill your microwave or yourself trying this – just check out these videos and pictures instead.

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Sony Unveils New Walkman for Swimmers– Light, Sturdy and on Sale for Under $170 this February

If you’re of the sporty persuasion and wish that you could take your tunes to the pool without having a funny-looking contraption strapped to your goggles or having your earphones fall out every other stroke, Sony’s newest addition to the Walkman series will definitely be of interest.

Scheduled for a February 16 release in Japan, the new NWD-W270 series features a compact, lightweight design and boasts 4GB of onboard storage space. Plenty of delicious images and details after the break.

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From D-Cup T-Shirts to Nostril Power Outlets — the Creative Clowning of Takayuki Fukuzawa

Quirky Japanese designer Takayuki Fukuzawa is on a mission to make people smile.

A graduate of Tokyo’s Nihon University, Fukuzawa started designing his own unique brand of “humourous art and design” products not long after entering full-time employment as a home designer. After bringing smiles to exhibition attendees’ faces and realising that he might be on to something, he quickly established his own company, ekoD Works (pronounced “eco doh”), and hasn’t looked back since.

Japan’s Excite News sat down with Fukuzawa to pick his brains about his unusual product line-up, the meaning behind the company name and the runaway success of his mercilessly cheeky “Wild Idea Mapping red Bra T-shirt”.

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Lotteria x Evangelion Fukubukuro! What Anime Surprises Await Inside!?

Fukubukuro, lit. “lucky bag”, are a wonderful way for stores to shift merchandise at the start of the year, not unlike western stores’ New Year’s sales but with far more mystery and intrigue involved. Shoppers take a gamble when they purchase these gift bags as they are completely sealed and their contents unlisted, and they don’t always contain products that we desperately need, but fukubukuro usually contain items whose cash value far exceeds the bag’s asking price.

So when our reporter Kuzo heard that the fast food chain and home of 30-patty cheeseburgers Lotteria was offering up special collaborative Evangelion bags for just 2,000 yen each, he powered down his Wii U, stepped out into the sunlight and sprinted – well, sort of jogged while wheezing quietly – to his nearest store to grab one for himself.

Was it worth the US$22 purchase, or was Kuzo lumbered with a cooking-oil-scented bag of tat? Find out after the jump.

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This Coffee Ring Portrait Will Blow Your Mind 【Video】

Being both a huge coffee addict and a minor clean freak, I can’t stand spilling even a drop of my precious black liquid. Drops of tea of coffee in a saucer annoy me so much that I’ve been known to decant my drink into a fresh cup and start over. Similarly, if I’m in a restaurant and the condensation from my glass leaves wet marks on the table I’m forever cleaning them up with paper napkins.

Not this artist. Where most of us see annoying table-cloth-ruining stains and wet patches to soak our sleeves, Malaysian artist Hong Yi, also known simply as Red, sees a tool to paint with. By spilling a little coffee into a saucer, dipping her cup into it and pressing it down onto a canvas over and over again, she has created this portrait.

The entire mesmerizing process in video format after the jump!

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New Year New iPhone Cover: Concrete and Steel Just Got Cool

Get a shiny new iPhone 5 for Christmas? Already own one but looking for a way to spruce it up for the new year? These covers may be just the ticket!

Designed by Japanese writer and photographer Ken Oyama, these snappy smartphone covers are sure to draw plenty of interested glances on your next train ride or visit to a trendy coffee-house.

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A Procrastinator’s Dream! A Pencil That Must Be Assembled Before Use

You have a term paper due tomorrow that’s not going to write itself, but you just can’t bring yourself to sit down and write it. You have to clean off your desk first. You know, a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind. Once that’s done, you’ll be sure to start writing. But wait, a rerun of your favorite TV show is on. It’s only thirty minutes… how much work can you really get done in half an hour anyways? Alright, you’ve wasted enough time! You have to get serious or you’re going to land up pulling an all-nighter again. But dang, look at your pencil! It’s in pieces! Better assemble it first before you get down to taking notes, underlining things in your textbook, doodling on the pages, and then eventually writing that paper…

OK, now this one’s going to take a while…

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10 +1 Japanese-Style Fonts For Typing English That Will Confuse Your Friends

Can you read the sentence written above? You should be able to; it’s written in English.

When I first started learning Japanese, the Chinese characters and syllabic scripts that were scrawled across my textbooks looked like some kind of crazy code that only aliens could understand. After years of studying, many of the previously cryptic symbols have become familiar, readable letters. However, now even English can be turned into a jumble of alien ciphers thanks to these 10 +1 fonts inspired by Japanese characters.

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Wooden Playstation 3 Bentō Lunchbox Looks Just Like the Real Thing

You could be fooled into thinking that this is some enormous new add-on for the current Playstation 3 console, but what you’re actually looking at here is a multi-layered wooden bentō lunchbox sculpted and assembled by a master craftsman for Sony Japan.

Presented to staff at Square Enix and Konami in celebration of 25 years of Final Fantasy and Metal Gear games, these stunning lunchboxes are designed to look identical to Sony’s home console, featuring everything from the ridged top to the tiny silver Playstation logo on the front, all the while leaving plenty of room inside for a delicious lunch.

These things are so beautiful that it almost makes us want to trade in our plastic Playstation 3 for a wooden one…

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[3D Photo Studio] Mr. Sato’s Very Own Lifelike 3-D model has Arrived!

Now that was fast!

It was just 10 days ago that we were detailing our adventurous reporter’s trip to the newly opened Omote 3D Shashin Kan photography studio to be scanned and turned into an ultra-detailed model, and we were told that it’d be a month before the finished product arrived. But would you believe it’s already here! In our sweaty little hands!

And the result is spectacular.

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Life in Mini: Our Reporter Mr. Sato Turns Himself into a Tiny Plastic Figure

Just a few weeks ago, this writer excitedly introduced you to Omote 3D Shashin Kan, the new 3D photography and modelling studio in Tokyo that immortalizes customers as tiny, intricately detailed figurines for just a couple of hundred dollars apiece.

Despite wanting to head down to the fancy new studio myself and decorate my apartment with a collection of mini mes, after much discussion in the office and comments being made like “too handsome” and “they might not have enough plastic to model your nose,” the RocketNews24 crew decided it best to send reporting legend Mr. Sato to do the honours instead.

This is no ordinary photoshoot.

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Capcom Ōkami Collaboration Helping Restore Tsunami-Struck Town, and So Can You

Playstation 2 and Wii owners will likely be familiar with Ōkami, the adventure game set in ancient Japan that features an absolutely gorgeous wood-cut, cell-shaded graphic design.

The game puts players in control of the wolf incarnation of Shintō goddess Amaterasu, and quests them with using a magical, life-giving paintbrush to transform a dark, cursed world into one of plants, trees and flowers, as well as battling a few demons and evil spirits along the way.

On the same theme of restoration, a local website based in Rikuzentakata, a coastal town in Iwate prefecture severely damaged by the March 11 tsunami, has launched a special range of products officially backed by Capcom, the makers of Ōkami, with profits from their sale going to towards rebuilding the town and, much like the game, “restoring nature to its once beautiful state.”

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Immortalize Yourself as a Plastic Figure for Just $260!!!

Ever since I saw Han Solo get encased in carbonite in The Empire Strikes Back, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a plastic mould of my friends and family, albeit without sealing them inside the stuff…

Thanks to a little company in Japan called Omote 3D Shashin Kan, though, my dream may be about to become a reality!

Using both 3-D scanning and 3-D printing technology, the ingenious company has made it possible to turn yourself or those you love into a tiny, ultra-detailed figure, with three sizes to choose from.

You’ll have to excuse me if I’m jumping the gun slightly when I say this, but this is clearly the best thing ever!

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【Video Magic】 Hatsune Miku in 3-D, Minus Glasses or Fancy Screens!!!

A video released on NicoNico Video by a group going by the name of Shichoukaku iinkai “The Audiovisual committee” has wowed Japanese internet users this week by managing to create a pseudo 3-D effect on 2-D monitors.

The video has since gone viral and, as of this afternoon, has reached more than 100,000 views.

Of course, it probably helps that digital idol Hatsune Miku is the star of the video, which sees the character dancing around while surrounded by thousands of (3-D!) shards of glass.

With a little concentration, the video’s 3-D effect actually works, even if it does require the user to look faintly ridiculous to see it…

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Japanese Passports Get a Patriotic Facelift with New Mount Fuji Case

Ask anyone to tell you the first things that come to mind when they think of Japan and, once giant robots and kinky fetishes are out of the way, Mount Fuji is bound to crop up.

The enormous near-symmetrical mountain has come to be known as a symbol of Japan, and the sight of it standing tall on a clear day is nothing short of spectacular. Up close, Mount Fuji is nowhere near as picturesque and is a rather unattractive mass of dark grey rock and ash, but from a couple of kilometres away there’s no denying that it has a certain majesty about it, and even native Japanese whip out their phones to take a snap of the notoriously shy mountain whenever they have the chance.

So what better way to show your love of Japan than by slipping your passport into a unique Mount Fuji passport case?

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