video games

There’s a reason Yoshi dogs don’t exist in the real world: They’d be absolutely terrifying

If there are any small children in the room, now might be a good time to send them to bed or off on an errand. We can’t guarantee that they’ll sleep a wink tonight after seeing this “Nintendog” poodle with its fur dyed and made up to look like Yoshi from the Super Mario series.

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U can haz Pokénoms! A how-to guide to cooking your own Pokémon pancakes

The recent news that Denny’s Japan is offering Pikachu pancakes—but only on the kids menu—has some readers, and us too if we’re being honest, pining for Pokémon sweets. While store-bought kits have had less than perfect results, even when they’re for cakes, we are determined to produce cute ones at home!

Thankfully, with this recipe, you can make your own “Peachu” pancakes! Pichu is essentially a baby Pikachu, making it even cuter, right?

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Japanese gamers dominate tournament, win back portion of money they’ve pumped into arcades

Even as the number of gamers worldwide continues to grow, video games remain a regular scapegoat for poor social skills, low grades, and neck beard-level hygiene. This holds true even in Japan, where parents and educators commonly voice their fear that without a strict curfew or school rules requiring pupils to head home straight after class, they might give in to temptation and –gasp!- stop off to play a few games at the arcade.

Game fans in Japan are finally getting some good press, though. For starters, studies show that playing Nintendo’s perennial hit Super Mario 64 can improve both your memory and sense of direction. And if your pursuits are more monetary than mental, mastery of fighting games can even earn you a nice-sized chunk of cold hard cash, like it did for the Japanese competitors who dominated the recently held Id Global Tournament in Korea.

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Get lost all the time? Can’t read maps? Study says you should play more Super Mario 64

I personally never really understood where the stereotype that women are bad at map-reading comes from. When most of the women in my life are more composed, logical, and organised than I or any of the guys I know, it seems odd that girls should be known as poor navigators.

If you do happen to be female and utterly hopeless with maps, though, a recent study suggests that you might benefit from playing video games more often, with findings suggesting that those who regularly pick up a controller have a better sense of direction and get lost less often.

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Capcom Japan’s April Fool is awesome, nyansensical

Ah, it’s been a great day for April Fools’ pranks this year, what with Google treating us to a worldwide pokémon outbreak and car maker BMW unveiling its “ZZZ” series sleep machine (any others I missed?). And now, Capcom – the Japanese company behind video game greats such as Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Mega Man – has announced that it is launching special dubbed versions of its top titles.

That’s right, folks, all of your favourite Capcom games are now available in neko-gocat language“, allowing Japan’s nyan population to join in the gaming fun.

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Final Fantasy café puts spirits within you with materia cocktails, chocolate buster swords

With well over 20 years since the original Final Fantasy was released, everyone who was old enough to enjoy developer Square Enix’s hugely successful video game franchise from the very start is legally old enough to drink in Japan. So when we heard tale of a realm/café run by the company, called Artnia, where we could combine our passions for role-playing games and alcoholic beverages, we were intrigued, and when rumors reached us of chocolate buster swords, we were out the door.

Our journey took us through pitch black tunnels, subterranean cities, and secluded forests, but we persevered, and have returned to tell all of our adventures.

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You ain’t seen North Korean calisthenics ’til you’ve seen it done to Final Fantasy IV boss music

Every once in a while we experience pleasant beauty of synchronicity in life, whether it’s listening to Pink Flyod’s Dark Side of the Moon while watching The Wizard of OZ or just listening to The Police’s Synchronicity.

Another such case is the uncannily fitting combination of a North Korean calisthenics video for children with the background music to a Final Fantasy IV boss battle. A video of it was posted on YouTube quite a while ago, but it’s worth revisiting again and again.

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I am the one who knocks (you out): Street Fighter meets Breaking Bad in genius animation

The only thing we love more than videos about our favourite forms of entertainment are crossover videos that bring them together in one place. Doing precisely that, a talented British animator has just made our Monday that bit more bearable by posting a video titled “Ryu VS Jesse” to YouTube, which combines the worlds of much-loved video game Street Fighter and smash TV show Breaking Bad. And the result is simply awesome.

Full video after the jump.

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Meanwhile, in Japan: Puzzle game Candy Crush hires girl’s nails as advertising space

Japan knows a thing or two about human billboards. And now, from the PR company that brought the world adverts stuck to girls’ thighs on the condition that the girls wear short skirts and knee-high socks, comes a brand new marketing idea: Candy Crush are sponsoring this girl’s fingernails, with a wacky, candy-based design that’s as bold and colourful as the game itself.

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Play video games, learn Japanese: Crowdfunded JRPG “Koe” reaches its goal with cash to spare

I’ve always maintained that, while the method may work for a very lucky few, drilling lists of words and kanji characters is like trying to commit blocks of random numbers to memory – that is to say painfully hard work, time-consuming, and not in the least bit natural or fun. Rather, a better way to approach language learning is to encounter words in context so as to easier form cognitive connections and assimilate them into that which we already know.

So when I stumbled upon Koe, an upcoming role-playing game designed to help people learn Japanese as they play, I couldn’t help feeling a twinge of excitement.

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The original cast of Street Fighter II beg for mercy in model form this summer

As we have come to learn over the years, Japan really loves its capsule toys and mobile phone accessories, and there’s always some cute new bit of plastic to attach to your person or use to brighten up your electronic devices. But for fans of the original Capcom fighter Street Fighter II (which is everyone, surely!?) we have some extra good news today.

A new series of models, showing the world warriors not in their typically magnificent fighting poses but on their knees and with their noses touching the ground, begging for forgiveness, is due to be released later this year.

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At long last, new Game Boy (yes, Game Boy) game “Airaki” on sale next month

No, you didn’t just step back into the ’90s; there’s a brand new Game Boy game on the horizon.

It would seem that my decision to doggedly avoid smartphone games and PS Vitas has paid finally off, because a new game just for my favorite console set to be shipped out this coming April. It’s a medieval-themed puzzle game going by the name of Airaki and will work with many of the old Game Boy units. It’s about time!

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Xbox One finally gets a release date in Japan – We hope you’re not in a hurry

That’s right ladies and gents, despite its predecessor’s somewhat dismal performance in the Land of the Rising Sun, Microsoft’s games console-cum-media hub Xbox One is coming to Japanese shores after all. But it won’t be for a while yet…

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Newsflash: Sony unveils “Project Morpheus”, new virtual reality headset for PlayStation 4

Sony Computer Entertainment has just lifted the lid on brand new hardware at GDC 2014 in San Francisco: its own virtual reality headset for PlayStation 4, codenamed Project Morpheus.

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Attempt at cute Pokémon cakes fail to win our hearts, may have taken our souls

It’s hard to think of something with less potential for terror than cake. It tastes great. It’s soft enough that it can be chewed with no problems, meaning that like diapers and long afternoon naps, it’s something that both the extremely young and extremely old can equally appreciate.

You can even make cake more appealing by shaping it like loveable cartoon characters, like Pokémon’s eternal mascot Pikachu. Surely there’s no way that could result in a terrifying abomination, right?

Wrong.

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Awesome origami artist recreates the creatures of Monster Hunter 【Videos】

Although it’s had only limited success internationally, in its home country of Japan, the video game series Monster Hunter is a massive hit. New titles have been released for the series at a pace of more than one a year, and the franchise can count 17 titles since it began in 2004.

Monster Hunter is popular enough that you could argue that it’s become one of Japan’s national pastimes, so maybe it was only a matter of time before someone thought to combine it with another of the country’s favorite cultural activities, the paper-folding art of origami.

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Free ninja robots mini-games for PlayStation 4 Camera coming later today 【Update: Now live】

As cute and fun as it is, there is not as yet a tremendous amount to do the PlayStation Camera, the motion-sensing add-on device for PlayStation 4. Every one of Sony’s new consoles comes with a copy of The Playroom, a collection of augmented reality (AR) games which, with a camera plugged in, combine real-time footage of players in their living rooms with computer-generated images to give the impression of sharing the same space. But once you’ve vacuumed up robots with your controller and played a few rounds of AR air hockey with a pal, you’ve seen most of what’s on offer.

Thankfully, Sony has just announced some additional content for The Playroom in the form of NINJA BOTS, which will be available later today and completely free. And it actually looks kind of fun.

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Why doesn’t Japan like first-person shooters? Old characters and World War II, says Sega exec

Not so long ago, Japanese developers absolutely dominated the console video game market. As time went on, though, developers from other nations started chipping away at that massive market share, particularly as consoles and PCs become more similar to each other in performance profiles.

In particular, Japanese studios haven’t responded to consumer demand for first-person shooters. Franchises such as Electronic Arts’ Battlefield and Activion’s Call of Duty are practically a license to print money, with incremental, near-annual updates that open the floodgates on huge revenue streams for their publishers.

But could the reason Japanese video game makers haven’t embraced the first-person shooter have something to do with Japan’s history?

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Handsome anime store clerk is back, and this time he brought his Persona 4 costume

In many ways, Yuya Uchida is like a lot of guys in their 20s. He’s a student with a part time job, and in his free time he likes watching anime and playing fighting games (also known as two of the most common hobbies for Japanese males).

One thing that sets Uchida apart from his peers, though, are his lady-pleasing looks, which have been winning him fans around the globe. The oft-bespectacled young man’s fan base is likely to grow further still when gamers get an eyeful of Uchida indulging in his third hobby, cosplay, with this spot-on Persona 4 costume.

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Looking to make your PlayStation 4 stylish and unique? This real wood case may be just the thing!

We’re sure many PlayStation fans in Japan have been happily playing away on their newly acquired consoles since the long-awaited launch of the new PlayStation 4 here last month. But electronic appliances and gadgets can sometimes be awfully difficult to coordinate with the rest of your interior decor, can’t they?

If that’s been a concern for you, here’s something from German wood product manufacturer balolo that not only looks lovely but also may help your PS4 blend more smoothly into the setting of your room — a PlayStation 4 cover made from natural high-quality wood!

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