New gaming chair aims to be the ultimate in comfort for Japanese players

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RocketNews 24 (by Cara Clegg):

Japanese company Bauhutte has recently launched a new range of gaming chairs specifically aimed at gamers who are typically in front of their computers for long periods of time. Available in three colors and designed in the image of a car seat or cockpit to bring more realism to your gaming experience, the stable frame will support your posture for long hours at your terminal or in front of your giant TV.

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It features reclining and rocking functions and easy and convenient adjustment of angle and height. With the simple pull of lever you can set it to your desired angle or even recline it all the way back for a comfortable sleeping position that reportedly feels just like being in a hammock, perfect for taking breaks between games.

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Simple but impactful color coordination and solid and unique stitch lines aim to evoke a “near-future” design.

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Made with 100 percent polyester fabric, the seat offers comfortable support for your shoulders and back, and arm rests can be easily moved to facilitate gaming with either a keyboard and mouse or controller.

The chair went on sale in Japan this month for 34,000 yen (US$308) plus tax.

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Source & images: Bauhutte

Japanese gamer refuses to let game save die, leaves his Super NES on for almost two decades

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RocketNews 24 (by Preston Phro):

Umihara Kawase was released for the Super Famicom (Super NES in the west) in December, 1994, just over two decades ago. It was a popular game that has spawned a number of sequels for a variety of platforms and has won its fair share of fans, including many who loved the original cartridge game. Unfortunately, some cartridge games from the 90s featured a fatal flaw in their storage: the batteries keeping players’ saves alive eventually dies.

While most gamers finally give up and waved goodbye to their progress, lost to the ravages of time, one hardcore fan has refused to lose his save and has simply left his console plugged in and switched on for the last 20 years!

“Incidentally, I’m pretty sure my first generation Umihara Kawase, which has been on in the SNES for over 20 years, has been in operation for over 180,000 hours. If the power is tuned off, I’ll lose all my replay data. Probably.”

Though it may be hard to believe now, with all our wonderful memory options for everything from computers to phones to handheld devices, back in the day, some game cartridges featured SRAM (Static RAM) coupled with lithium-ion batteries. As long as your battery stayed charged, the SRAM would hold your save data. Unfortunately, as soon as your battery ran out, your data would disappear as well. Of course, not all games used SRAM, but Umihara Kawase did, which means that if the battery in the cartridge were to die, @UMIHARAKawase would lose his replay data.

You, like many gamers from back in the day, are probably thinking it’s just not worth it, but this Twitter user obviously disagrees. However, it seems that he did unplug his system once—while moving house. Fortunately, he was able to get it set up before the battery died, so it’s not strictly true that the SNES has been on for 20 years, but we’re not sure we’d call that much of a break either.

We can’t help imagining blackouts being far more terrifying for the Twitter user than for most people. In fact, it appears the gamer got a number of questions about it, though he says there’s not been any outages at his home, as far as he can remember.

If you happen to have an old SNES game with SRAM and you’re worried about your battery dying, it is actually possible to replace it with a bit work. In fact, it seems that it’s possible to “hot-swap” the batteries, which might actually help @UMIHARAKawase, though we wouldn’t blame him if he’d rather not risk it. After twenty years, losing it all now would be downright devastating!

The son of China’s richest man reveals the truth behind why gaming is so popular in China

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Next Shark:

Wang Sicong, the son of China’s richest man, usually says exactly what is on his mind, except that in a frank interview with the BBC for their three-part documentary series about Chinese youth, he’s addressing a different, more controversial subject: China’s government.

In the interview for the first installment of the channel’s “Secrets of China,” Wang says that trying to escape the country’s system would be “suicide” and that “there is really no way of succeeding outside the system.”

Wang, who was educated in the UK, is the son of Wang Jianlian, the founder of Chinese retail, real estate and movie theater conglomerate Dalian Wanda. He has an estimated net worth of $25.9 billion.

When asked in the interview about how Chinese children grow up to be individuals despite the country’s strict government, the 27-year-old Wang, an avid gamer and the owner of e-sports team Invictus Gaming, said:

“The state chooses what’s mainstream, and you have to conform to that. If your ideals are not mainstream, then you’re wrong. But of course, everyone has their own ideas, so what they do is they put on a mask and they go forward in life with the mask. Why is online gaming becoming so popular in China? Because once you go online you can take off that mask and say whatever you really think instead of what is mainstream.”

Asked about China’s lack of freedom, Wang said:

“I think at some point you just accept it. That’s why you don’t see many people protesting in China, I suppose … because they realize — some point in time, some point in (their social) class — that even by protesting they can’t change much.”

Wang’s interview with the BBC can be watched in full below.

Thousands show up to Ani-Com & Games Fair in Hong Kong

Channel NewsAsia:

Thousands of comic book fans, gamers and cosplayers are thronging the 17th Ani-Com & Games Fair in Hong Kong. Organisers are hoping to beat last year’s attendance of more than 720,000 people.

About 100 die-hard comic book fans and gamers camped out overnight ahead of the fair. Previous years saw larger crowds wanting to score limited edition merchandise, which organizers have since banned.

At the head of the queue was a fan eagerly awaiting a deluxe edition of his favourite videogame. “I’m here for the Playstation’s latest Metal Gear Solid video game. This year, I’ve set aside about US$1,000 to spend,” said Mr Chan.

There are also many comic characters coming to life. Cosplayer Paul Ho said: “We’re the crazy, crazy people. We take annual leave and come to the Comicon Hong Kong to support society, support the positives. I always say, you have heart, you can be the superhero.”

Mr Ho, an event organiser, paraded around the fair with friends in home-made costumes, inspired by the Avengers movie.

The dark side of the force was also strong when its most famous Sith Lord made an appearance. One would also likely need a second garage to fit a 1/6 scale of the Millennium Falcon spacecraft, which needs no introduction to Star Wars fans.

A Millennium Falcon movdel from the Star Wars is displayed at the 17th Ani-Com and Games exhibition in Hong Kong.

Hot Toys, a Hong Kong-based company that produces high-end figurines coveted worldwide, build the highly detailed model, which is 18-feet by 12-feet in size.

“We built it because we’re die-hard fans of Star Wars, we want people to love Star Wars, and that’s why we built it, but it’s not for sale,” said Chere Li, marketing manager at Hot Toys.

What is for sale and is its bestseller is the Iron Man Hulkbuster action figure that was featured on the big screen recently.

Channel NewsAsia‘s Hong Kong Bureau Chief Roland Lim also had the chance to test a product that is not out in the market yet. Sony‘s virtual reality headset, codenamed Project Morpheus, will not be ready until next year and Sony is planning for 30 games to come with it.

Hong Kong is the first in Asia for gamers to play Star Wars Battlefront, while Microsoft has set up a special wall with 200 car models to celebrate the 10th anniversary of racing game Forza.

The convention runs until Tuesday.

President of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata passes away at 55

Nintendo has officially announced the passing of Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, on July 11 due to a bile duct tumor. During his time at the video game corporation, Iwata brought to life the epic RPG Earthbound (known by Japanese gamers as Mother 2) and the early Kirby series. The Gamecube and Wii U can also be attributed to his vision, while also ushering in the success of the DS and 3DS, both of which remain popular with casual and hardcore gamers to this day. He was 55.

Nintendo set to develop games for smartphones and tablets

In a move that will surely have a polarizing effect among nostalgic gamers, Japanese video game maker Nintendo will soon venture into smartphone games. It will partner with Japanese mobile gaming production house DeNA to develop games for mobile devices that make use of Nintendo’s extensive portfolio of iconic games and characters in an attempt to “ensure the quality of game experience that consumers expect.” The move comes years after facing increasing competition from other companies, including PlayStation maker Sony and Xbox maker Microsoft, who have been offering customers a mobile experience.

The cross-platform service will run across smartphones, tablets, PCs and Nintendo’s own devices, and is set to launch in fall of this year.

Japanese netizens rediscover “Full Armor Game Boy,” question how the ’90s defined portability

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Japanese netizens are reintroduced to the “Full Armor Game Boy”

RocketNews 24:

Despite the Game Boy’s revolutionary specs for its time, the small screen, the lack of a backlight and minuscule speaker left much to be desired for gamers in the 1990s. And although many just considered the Game Boy’s limitations a minor price to pay to take the fun of Nintendo anywhere they wanted, some accessory makers brought a few products to market to jazz it up a bit.

Recently Japanese netizens came across a picture of one such accessory that tripled the size of the Game Boy, calling to question just how “portable” this gaming option was.

A retro gaming enthusiast tweeted out a photo last week from a 1994 issue of the Japanese video game magazine Famitsu that shows a tricked-out version of the Game Boy he dubbed “Full Armor Game Boy.” The oversized device looks practically indestructible, almost like it came from the war room where military scientists engineered it to control missiles.

The somewhat awkward-looking add-ons are from an officially licensed Nintendo product called the Handy Boy (which you can still buy for US$29.99 on Amazon). The Handy Boy includes an adjustable magnifying screen, speakers, a light to for those nighttime Game Boy sessions, larger buttons, a miniature joystick and a neck strap to make holding the even bulkier device possible. Even though some YouTube reviewers of the Handy Boy say it makes the Game Boy a “wee bit top-heavy,” the packaging claims it is “lightweight” and has a “compact design.”

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Japanese netizens were taken aback at just how big all of these accessories made the Game Boy and wondered how this could possible be called a handheld video game console. While others wondered how uncomfortable it would be to actually play with everything attached like that. And for those that actually remembered squinting at the tiny green screen, they looked at this image in envy of the lucky kid whose parents bought them this Game Boy holy grail.

– “This is multitasking: video games AND weightlifting at the same time!”
– “Looks like a Game Boy crossed with a Transformer”
– “This is really stretching the limits of portability…”

Did you ever use the Handy Boy to trick out your Game Boy or wish you had? Let us know in the comments section below if you remember the joys (and perhaps still lingering neck pain) of playing Tetris on a magnified, lit-up screen with stereo sound!